Former all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi rolled back the years and recalled the stupendous knock played by Yuvraj Singh in the 1999-00 U19 World Cup semi-final. During the game at the PSS in Colombo, the left-handed Yuvraj came out firing on all cylinders and helped the Boys in Blue post a substantial target of 285 for Australia to chase down.
Ravneet Ricky scored a 148-ball 108, but it was Yuvraj’s 25-ball 58, laced with five fours and as many sixes, that propelled India past the 280-run mark. Sodhi, who scored only four runs in the game, talked about how amazed he was by the confidence Yuvraj showed in his teenage days.
Sodhi heaps praises on Yuvraj Singh
“Yuvraj and I were padded up and as the end overs approached, I could see Yuvi was on edge, itching to go out and bat. I told him, ‘Yuvi, do something today’, and he’s like, ‘Boss, I’m going to own the field.’
“For the next 20 minutes or so, we all sat there and watched him smack five sixes and hit a fifty off 20-odd balls. That confidence you could see even then,” Sodhi was quoted as saying to ESPNcricinfo.
Yuvraj’s knock didn’t go in vain as India won the game by 170 runs and progressed to the final. The Aussies, then led by Nathan Hauritz, were bowled out for 114 in 34.5 overs. Thereafter, India defeated Sri Lanka in the final by six wickets and lifted the trophy.
Later, in October 2020, Yuvraj made his international debut in the ICC Knockout Trophy. After not getting to bat against hosts Kenya, the southpaw smashed 84 runs against Australia in Nairobi and gave an account of his stupendous self. From there on, Yuvraj kept scaling one height after the other.
Back in the 2011 World Cup that India won, he became the Player of the Tournament. Although he strained to find his feet in Test cricket, Yuvraj became a fulcrum of the Men in Blue in limited-overs cricket. Yuvraj retired from the highest level back in 2019 after last donning the national jersey in 2017.
The current India U19 team, led by Yash Dhull, meanwhile, have qualified for the final. On Wednesday, they defeated Australia and are now set to face Tom Prest’s England in the grand finale.